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Grants to Massachusetts Nonprofits in Eligible Counties to Benefit Local Communities

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Geographic Focus

USA: Massachusetts: Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk Counties

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Cummings $30 Million Grant Program

Cummings Foundation

Agency: Foundation

GrantWatch ID #138242

Grant Description

Previous Page Version

Grants to Massachusetts nonprofit organizations in eligible counties to benefit local communities. A letter of inquiry must be submitted prior to applying. Programs may align with one of the following areas: social justice, education, healthcare, or human services. The Foundation has a very local focus, supporting organizations that not only serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties but also are headquartered in one of these counties throughout the term of their grants. In addition, all funding requests should focus exclusively on operations within the tri-county area.

Recognizing that most nonprofits incur general operating costs, the Foundation will consider funding necessary "overhead" expenses (e.g., rent, phone service, administrative salaries, etc.). 

Capital projects are reviewed closely to ensure that plans are appropriate (and not extravagant) and that quotes are fair and reasonable. If approved, these awards will be treated as pledges to be paid when construction is ready to commence. In addition, large capital projects are not typically funded unless very near completion.

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Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The Cummings $30 Million Grant Program is a place-based initiative that primarily supports nonprofits in the Massachusetts counties where Cummings Foundation operates commercial properties and where most staff and clients of Cummings Foundation and Cummings Properties live—Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties. Applicants should be local organizations that are not only headquartered in but also provide at least 50 percent of their services in this tri-county area. In addition, all funding requests should focus exclusively on operations within the tri-county area.

Special consideration is given to nonprofits based in the 11 cities and towns where the Cummings organization operates commercial real estate. The Foundation may also give such consideration to organizations that are based elsewhere in the tri-county area and propose introducing programming or services in one or more of these 11 communities, especially Woburn.

Nonprofits that meet these criteria and provide some services statewide, or even in adjacent states, are eligible for consideration. Given the strong local nature of this funding program, however, organizations that are truly regional, national, or international (or have staff or offices in other states) will typically not be considered even if they meet the 50 percent threshold for services. In addition, local office/affiliates of national organizations will not be considered, even if they meet the 50 percent threshold, unless they have their own EIN.

While not in any way minimizing the value or importance of organizations focused on the arts (including dance, music, and theater), culture, environment, athletics, or the preservation of land or historic buildings, these areas are not among this program's priorities. Additionally, animal welfare organizations are not typically considered for these grants.

The Cummings $30 Million Grant Program will not generally consider requests for:
- Endowments
- Medical research
- Religious endeavors
- Relatively new entities
- Political, legislative, or lobbying organizations
- Individuals or debt reduction, no matter how worthy
- Organizations that do not regularly file IRS Form 990
- Major capital campaigns, unless very near completion
- Primary and secondary schools that charge significant tuition.
- Very large organizations already supported by robust endowments
- Organizations that do not have tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Code
- National or regional organizations, or local branches thereof that do not have an EIN separate from that of the larger entity
- Organizations that discriminate based on race, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, etc.
- Municipalities (including public schools, police departments, etc.), except for the 11 communities in which the Cummings organization operates commercial properties

501(c)(3) organizations that request funds to then disburse to individuals or other entities will be considered for the Cummings $30 Million Grant Program, but such grant-makers will be expected to demonstrate expertise and due diligence in their processes to select and follow up with their own grantees.

Prior grant recipients are eligible to apply for an additional grant.

Pre-Application Information:

2022-2023 Application Process and Timeline:
- July 1: Letter of Inquiry opens
- September 9, 5 PM: Letter of Inquiry closes
- November 1: Application invitations and decline notices sent via email
- December 22, 5 PM: Full applications due from those invited to apply
- Week of May 1: Presentation Days - Some applicants being considered for 10-year awards will be contacted during the week of April 10 and invited to schedule a 45-minute time slot during the week of May 1 to meet with and make a presentation to Foundation volunteers.
- Week of May 22: Grant approval and decline letters sent via postal mail
- June 15: Grant Winner Celebration - Grant winners will be invited to send up to two representatives to this festive not-to-be-missed event. Due to space limitations, attendance is by invitation only.

LOIs are accepted via the online portal only. Organizations should submit no more than one LOI per grant cycle. Accordingly, larger institutions, such as colleges and hospitals, are urged to coordinate among departments before submitting any requests.

Foundation staff will be available to answer questions up until the deadline. Nonprofits are strongly encouraged to plan ahead and submit well before the deadline, as extensions will not be granted.

See URL for Full Text (RFP) for additional information regarding the application process.

To ensure that funds benefit a wide variety of causes, the Foundation limits the number of grants awarded each year to independent organizations affiliated with the same national organization (e.g., Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA).


Additional Funding Information:

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:


Estimated Size of Grant:

125 winners will receive grants of $30,000-$300,000 (first time and returning recipients)
25 winners will receive $100,000 - $1,000,000 (returning recipients)

Term of Contract:

All LOIs should be written with a three-year grant in mind. Prior Cummings grant winners will automatically be considered for 10-year awards after the 150 winners have been determined.

Contact Information:

Submit LOI:

Joyce Vyriotes
Executive Director

Laura Hiller
Deputy Director & Foundation Counsel

Andrew Bishop
Grants Manager

Cummings Foundation
200 West Cummings Park
Woburn, MA 01801

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